This page is currently being updated ahead of the launch of SAA’s new Strategic Plan (2021-2025).

Theme 5 objectives embody the SAA commitment to becoming an evidence-based organization that better understands and documents the impacts of its investments. As organizational strategy development and program planning are intrinsically linked to monitoring, evaluation and reporting, SAA Theme 5 (MELS unit) is in charge of coordinating strategy development processes, program planning, monitoring, evaluation and reporting at country and regional levels. In view of this critical role, Theme 5 has been established to build a relevant, efficient and effective monitoring, evaluation, learning and sharing, and reporting systems with an accompanied Management Information System (MIS) to document impacts and the effectiveness of all investments—both core and extra-core donor funded. To achieve these, Theme 5 works with and through the other SAA themes and the SG2000 country programs to implement the SAA MELS system(s).


The Monitoring, Evaluation, Learning and Sharing (MELS) Theme began in 2011 with an overall objective to establish a relevant, efficient and effective monitoring, evaluation, learning and sharing system to drive SAA’s evidence-based programs.

MELS theme specific objectives include:

  1. To promote and institutionalize monitoring, evaluation, learning and sharing, involving partners for evidence based reporting and impact assessment at SAA,)
  2. To assess and identify farmers’, other target beneficiaries’ and partners’ needs to prioritize SAA interventions
  3. To effectively and efficiently collect and use baseline data and information on SAA interventions
  4. To collect, analyze, use and report in a continuous and systematic manner, monitoring data and information from selected SAA intervention areas
  5. To develop and implement appropriate strategies for periodic internally and externally commissioned evaluations to assess performance - relevance, efficiency, effectiveness, impact and sustainability, and guide decision-making
  6. To develop and implement appropriate methodologies and tools to measure and assess SAA program(s)’ and project(s)’ impacts on smallholder farmers, partners and agricultural development in the 4 focus countries
  7. To identify, capture, document and share good practices and lessons learned on SAA interventions

Evidence Generation, Learning, and Sharing

During the last strategic period (2012-2016) MELS Theme have made great strides towards achieving its strategic goal to establish information and knowledge management systems that enable adaptation, modification and change of technologies and approaches, improve efficiency and impacts, and communicate lessons and best practices for timely evidence-based decision-making.

The activities which have been implemented by the MELS Theme since 2011 include institutionalization of MELS in SAA i.e. assuring ownership and use of results and findings from MELS. Enhancing staff capacity in data collection, analysis and report wiring. Undertaking needs assessments to prioritize needs of farmers for target interventions. Conducting baseline surveys to establish benchmarks for impact assessments and evaluations. The others are output and outcome monitoring to have information for real-time decision making and evaluating interventions and activities to ensure relevance, efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, impact assessments have been conducted to learn how and by how much our interventions impact on farmers.

MELS has successfully lead and coordinated the external evaluation of SAA strategy (2012-16) and the development of the current strategy (2017-2021).

Furthermore, there is a considerable pool of data, information, evidence and understanding on different SAA programs, projects, interventions and activities with respect to progress, achievements, benefits and impacts. These are documented in over 180 needs assessment, baseline, outcome monitoring, evaluation and in-depth study (impact assessment) reports and in over 30 technical briefs/success stories together with Short Technical/Policy Briefs and Best practices and success stories, some of which can be found in our E-libraries. ( Publications & Report )

Ethiopia Tadesse, Acting Thematic Director

SAA Publications

SAA history book "Walking with the Farmer"

Electronic version of SAA history book, "Walking with the Farmer"is available here.

SAA Success Stories

Electronic version of SAA Success Stories is available here.

Walking with the Farmer

Our E-newsletter is available here.

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Core Donor

Nippon Foundation